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A Dark, Dark Tale (Red Fox Picture Books)
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A Dark, Dark Tale (Red Fox Picture Books)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  385 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Children will delight in following the black cat's progress through the dark wood, into the dark house, and eventually to the surprise discovery at the back of the toy cupboard, in this mysterious, beautifully illustrated picture book.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published July 16th 1992 by Red Fox (first published 1981)
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Best Halloween Picture Books
53rd out of 343 books — 353 voters
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Preschoolers at First Grade Level
39th out of 59 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 671)
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Aug 30, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Absolutely love this book. Not enough words to be a level 1 reader, but a cute, creepy, story that's just in time for the Halloween season coming up. I'm so looking forward to autumn! The pictures are dark and creepy and fun, and my 5 yr old got to learn some new words like "moor" and "passage". For some reason, I seem to remember Ruth Brown as writing some other books I enjoyed as a child, I'll have to look her up and see if I can't get some more from the library! Great addition to our library!
Lisa Vegan
Well, I thought the dark cat was cute, until the very end at least. And, I liked this throughout, until maybe the end. The end was a surprise, and it was welcomed as it added a bit of zing to the story. But, it made the cat seem less adorable to me, and when I got to the end, I found myself thinking well what was the point of that, even though I saw the point. For very young children the repetition and the telling of the tale with very few words really works, and older children can enjoy this st ...more
Sep 13, 2015 Sylvia rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books
Keren banget! :D Baru tahu kalau di library ada buku ini. Simpen ah buat storytelling :)

Kisahnya di awali begini:

Once upon a time there was a dark, dark moor...

Lalu dilanjutkan di dalam moor (atau tegalan) itu ada hutan, di dalam hutan ada rumah, dan seterusnya. Yang membuat menarik adalah, buku ini ilustrasinya kelam, gelap seperti cerita hantu. Dan kalimat yang digunakan juga membuat imajinasi melayang ke arah hantu terutama saat menggambarkan isi rumah.

Saya membayangkan saat bercerita pada a
Lisa Fanelli
Nov 23, 2015 Lisa Fanelli rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
I love this book! This book was my first favorite book as a child. I had issues with my eyesight that went misdiagnosed until the third grade. I was a third grader that could not read. I could not track the print on the page. I had to go to vision therapy to strengthen my eye muscles to track print. The reason I loved this book because of the wonderful pictures. My parents would read me this story. Then I would "read" the story based on the pictures. This was the first book that I could "read". ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Do you think that if monsters really exist that there might be a monster out there licking his lips and thinking about YOU? And what if that monster is coming to find you? Riding his bicycle through a dark forest on his way? What if he is thinking about what you might taste like with ketchup as he wades through the gloopy swamp? What if he thinks about you on toast while tiptoeing through thorns? He’s getting closer and closer… you aren’t scared are you? Are you?

Filled with great noises and ways
Jan 22, 2013 Angela rated it it was ok
This is a tale which begins out on a 'dark dark moor' and follows a sequence moving from the moor, to a wood, to a house, to a door, to the inside of the house etc. The story leads us through the house to a box within which lies a surprise for the reader. The surprise is not all that exciting and doesn't really relate to the rest of the story. The story ends once the box is opened and we see what is inside.

The words 'dark dark' are repeated throughout the story as all of the items are described
Mel Jennings
Apr 01, 2012 Mel Jennings rated it really liked it
In the wood there was a dark, dark house, at the front of the house there was a dark, dark door. This book will encourage children to join in if being used as a read aloud story book. With its use of repetition on every page, children can become the story tellers. Follow the pages all the way to the end to discover what is hiding in the dark, dark box. Encourage the children to use their imaginations as you make your way through this story, there are lots of opportunities for the children to eng ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
Preschool and primary students will love this atmospheric picture book. It's great for a experiencing print: have your child spot the black cat in every page and guess where he's going next. Talk about how the setting (night in an old, abandoned house) and inky, gothic pictures contribute to the scary mood.(Well, don't use those exact words...) Repeat the "dark, dark" part. This is an ever-so-slightly scary tale that most 4 and 5 year olds will enjoy without fear. Recommended for any home or sch ...more
Hannah Rich
Feb 04, 2014 Hannah Rich rated it it was amazing
Eeeeryyyy!!!! I honestly felt like I was actually walking through a haunted house just by looking at these illustrations! As you flip from page to page, the reader gets focused in on a more specific piece of information about this abandoned residence located in the middle of the woods. I feel like this book would bring a sense of curiosity to young readers because they would want to find out for themselves what lies in that house. The use of dark colors and double page illustrations makes the sp ...more
Emily Lloyd
May 05, 2014 Emily Lloyd rated it it was ok
The dark dark tale is a book based on a progression through the dark wood, into the dark house, and eventually to the surprise discovery of a mouse inside a toy box. We did the book for two weeks for our literacy lesson in year one. I do not recommend this book very highly as the children didn't really like the concept of the dark dark tale. I also found it confusing for the children as they were encouraged to think about the main character of the dark dark tale. There isn't really a main charac ...more
Sarah Caswell
Sep 17, 2015 Sarah Caswell rated it really liked it
This short but dark dark tale by Ruth Brown is a fun and cute tale that will keep the attention of small children when read appropriately. The tale begins with a dark dark setting that wiggles its way through a forest and then to a house. In this house there are dark dark places that lead to a special surprise visitor at the end! I believe that children will enjoy the suspense of seeing which dark place will come next. The author takes hold of the readers attention by starting out with a big ope ...more
Julia Wickenden
Mar 17, 2014 Julia Wickenden rated it really liked it
A Dark, Dark Tale is a very good picture book. Some of the story can only really be picked up by looking at the pictures, and the pictures are dark and atmospheric. There is a repeated motif which makes it easy for children to engage.

A cat goes on a journey through a dark, dark wood, into a dark, dark house, into dark, dark rooms and a dark, dark cupboard, where he finds a dark, dark box. Inside the dark, dark box is a surprise...

A Dark, Dark Tale could be used as a stimulus for writing in EYFS
Maya Benberry
Apr 30, 2014 Maya Benberry rated it really liked it
The title explains exactly how the book is. The words "Dark, Dark" are repeated throughout the story. For example, "In the wood there was a dark, dark house, at the front of the house there was a dark, dark door." This book will encourage children to join in if being used as a read aloud story book. With its use of repetition on every page, children can become the story tellers. Follow the pages all the way to the end to discover what is hiding in the dark, dark box. The end of the story comes a ...more
Chelsea Gail Smith
Jan 30, 2013 Chelsea Gail Smith rated it really liked it
A Dark Dark Tale written and illustrated by Ruth Brown was a fun, almost suspenseful read. Every page described something as "dark,dark." While I was reading this, I thought that some children might be a little scared of the story because it was dark, the illustration's were dark, and everything was being described as dark. I remember when I was a child I was very scared of the dark. I think this is a good story to show that your should not be scared of the dark. The illustrations were very deta ...more
This fun and spooky tale would make a great Halloween time (or anytime!) read-aloud for young classrooms everywhere. The dark, muted colors used in the cover illustration are the perfect way to set the musty, eerie tone that is carried very well throughout the book. From the very first page the reader is pulled in to this suspenseful story, slowly following the narrator on to each page. This story uses repetition from beginning to end with the words “dark, dark,” which are used on every page to ...more
Sep 18, 2013 Chelsea rated it really liked it
This book is a picture book with the theme of Halloween making it unique and good for the children who like spookier story lines. This book is not scary, however, so it is still appropriate for young age groups. This book is also a pattern book repeating the phrase"...a dark, dark,,," keeping the reader involved and wanting to know what happens on the next page. The repetition makes for good page turners. The end of the story comes as a surprise to the reader and also adds to the uniqueness of t ...more
Joseph Seo
Sep 11, 2013 Joseph Seo rated it liked it
This book is very dark like the title says. It has a scariness that children would love in a book. This is definitely a good Halloween read. Ruth Brown does a good job of making the book not too scary for children, but just enough. The words "dark, dark" is repeated in every page and it adds a creepy effect to the book. You follow a black cat from the woods and inside the house. Everything in the house is dark and creepy. Page after page it gets even more suspenseful except the ending. The illus ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Katelyn rated it really liked it
The picture book, "A Dark, Dark Tale," by Ruth Brown takes children through this dark and scary house into a room by following this black cat. The repetition on each page is, "a dark dark..." The black cat starts in the woods, enters a house, which eventually leads to a room where a tiny mouse is sleeping in a box. This shows children that they should not be afraid of the dark! It may seem scary, but in all actuality it is not. I think this picture book would be great for children ages 3-5. Also ...more
Jan 24, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood
I loved this book as a child. I especially liked looking for the black cat in each illustration. I used to get it from the library so often that eventually Dad bought our own copy. We start the story on "a dark, dark moor" and travel towards "a dark, dark house", which is then explored. The surprise at the end is very sweet.
Oct 26, 2015 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the pictures! And the repetition of the Dark Dark....but you know, for someone who doesn't like mice, I wanted something in the Dark Dark corner a little more spooky. I like spiders, but spiders might be more interesting. I know , I know, it is clearly a cat stalking his prey but I wasn't thrilled!
Blair Herron
Nov 28, 2011 Blair Herron rated it liked it
Patterned/Predictable Book:

Definitely can see why it falls under the category of predictable since the beginning of each sentence starts out the same and you can get a sense for where the plot is headed. Children and Adults alike could certainly tell what the beginning of each sentence would be since it was repeated each time. The illustrations do a wonderful job depicting the story line because with each new element that is added it is shown in the pictures opposite of the text. This would make
Lin Cleverley
Nov 02, 2015 Lin Cleverley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mum got me this book when I was about 5/6 so in the late 80s I loved it as a child, I would search for the cat in the pictures, even as I grew up i appreciated the illustration, I still loved the book and still own my original copy from the 80's which I've looked after very well.
Dec 07, 2014 Libby rated it really liked it
My three-year-old chose this purely because the cat looks like our cat, but it turned out to be a good "Halloween" story for very little kids. It follows the same pattern as the "in a dark, dark room" ghost story, but at the end of this version, there is no ghost but a little mouse.
Feb 23, 2016 Veronica rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danika Meunier
A good story for young ones. Have them find the cat in every picture. Ask the audience should we keep following the black cat? At the end use a mouse puppet to "pop" out and scare them! They will find this very funny. Mice aren't scary at all!
Sarah Sammis
Jun 27, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it liked it
Sean chose A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown for Harriet when we were at the library. It was first published when my brother was three but I don't remember reading the book back then. It feels like a modern picture book so I have to admit to being surprised at its age.

A Dark, Dark Tale builds on a suspense, starting in the forest and following a black cat as he creeps through the forest and into an apparently abandoned old manor. Somewhere in the heart of this house is a dark, dark secret.

Up until
I really liked this until the end. The illustrations are gorgeous and so wonderfully spooky without being overtly spooky. There's some build-up of anticipation.

But then the ending is silly and cutesy and it doesn't really match. I didn't want it to be a horrifying ending or anything, but even just letting it peter out would've been better than the silly thing it went for. Kinda ruined the book for me.
Feb 01, 2016 Kate rated it liked it
I love beautifully illustrated children's books that accompany silly, rather pointless stories. The details hidden away in the pictures add to the enjoy of the book. This is definitely a timeless classic.
Apr 26, 2016 Catherine rated it liked it
Perfect book for a child's first "scary" story.

See full review on my blog.

Ruth Lyons
Jan 28, 2012 Ruth Lyons rated it really liked it
This book is about following the trail to a dark house which has many dark places. Once inside we are led to a dark room that has a box which has a surprise in it for us all. Our guide is a dark colored cat.

This would be good for beginning readers because of the very short and simple words. It would also be a good book to read to 2 and 3 year olds because of its pattern of using the phase " a dark, dark __" to decribe the new place we are introduced to.

The illustrations are done in dark shades o
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Ruth Brown is the creator of some of Britain's best loved children's books. She has created a great many picture books for Andersen Press and is highly respected as an author and illustrator. She is married to artist Ken Brown and they have two grown-up sons and one grandchild.
More about Ruth Brown...

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